COMPOSERS: Kenny Garrett
CATALOGUE NO: 9362-48404-2
Having regrouped by retreating into neo-classicism in the Eighties, jazz reasserted itself in the Nineties by resorting to one of its classic strategies: extending hospitality to an extraordinary variety of other musics, adapting and assimilating them. The music was thus able to emerge in the new millennium as unashamedly polystylistic, yet retaining its core strengths: interactive spontaneity and improvisational imagination.
Consequently, an average month’s new issues will now run the stylistic gamut, from the strictly conventional, through the mildly eccentric, to the wholly individual.
Still in relatively conventional mode, alto/soprano-player Kenny Garrett’s eighth album for Warner, Standard of Language, breathes vibrant vitality into another of jazz’s staples, the horn-led quartet.
Beginning with a scorching visit to the only standard on the album, ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’, Garrett manages to infuse everything he plays with the roiling energy that is such a distinctive feature of his live work, and his band – pianist Vernell Brown, bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Chris Dave – provides an object lesson in fierce interaction, their various strengths (Dave’s roots are in hip-hop, Brown’s in free jazz and Moffett is one of the music’s most experienced bassists) enabling them to strike sparks off each other in a manner seldom heard in a recording studio.